After a breakup a couple of years ago, a friend took me out for a drink. She was in a relationship (and is now engaged. Woo.) and was ready to offer me some dating advice. She didn’t have much of it, but it was good advice. Never send unsolicited dick pics. It’s advice I didn’t need, but advice that I have followed nonetheless. No one wants to see that.
But lots of people still want to see pics. Especially ones that show folks in various stages of undress. Of course, consenting adults do consenting things sometimes. That’s fine. But those pics get tricky. On your computer? On your phone? At home? That’s your thing. It’s private, it’s personal, it’s yours. There’s a time and a place for pics and just because your phone might be private when you’re sitting on our couch, doesn’t mean your phone is private when you’re out and about.
The kid was sitting on the bus. He was in the seat in front of me. I had walked right past him, climbed into my seat, sat down, swung my backpack onto my lap, and begun my commute. Phone out, he was staring intently. It was one of those big phones, with a screen that screams, look at me! So I looked. Cute woman. Maybe 19, 20. She was playing with her cat in a short video. He scrolled past the video. Snapchat photos appeared. Short little messages. Hearts drawn over the picture. Cute. I went back to staring out the window. The resting commuter face of boredom and apathy.
I glanced down at my neighbor again. The young woman had, in a relatively short time, removed her pants and begun dancing, while filming herself in the mirror. Now there were two of her. The amount of clothing between her and her reflection was probably not enough to cover one of my legs. And she danced and danced. And he watched and watched. And then he flipped to the next message. This one just a picture.
Fifteen seconds hadn’t even passed, but at this point, I was feeling uncomfortable, embarrassed, and incredibly creepy. So I turned my attention to the cityscape chugging by. Soon enough I’d be on the subway. Soon enough I could bury my uncomfortableness in the silence of the subway. Soon enough years of American prudishness could melt into the blue seats of the subway car. A minute closer to the subway station and, in what can only be termed one of the most lopsided trades since Patrick Roy was unloaded to the Colorado Avalanche, the dude snapped a selfie, wrote a short note, and replied. Thankfully, he did not remove his pants on the bus so that he too could dance provocatively while filming himself.
They were both old enough to be legal. Which, being Sweden, means you’re barely a teenager, but still, legal. They seemed to be doing this because they wanted to. That’s fine. Consenting adults in a relationship. Whatever keeps the magic alive. But some things are best left at home. In the privacy of your bedroom. Or kitchen. Or living room. Or really anywhere you are that isn’t described as public. Like public transportation.
Welcome to Sweden. And another piece of dating advice. Don’t look at your partner’s pics on public transportation.